Samsung Galaxy Watch 3  Review: Premium option for Android users

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Premium option for Android users

Swapnil Mathur   |  16 Oct 2020
DIGIT RATING
84 /100
  • design

    88

  • performance

    83

  • value for money

    84

  • features

    83

  • PROS
  • Rotating bezel is back.
  • Accurate tracking of fitness activities and sleep.
  • Voice quality for calls is good.
  • CONS
  • Leather strap is too stiff and uncomfortable.
  • Negligible third-party app support.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is the latest iteration of the premium smartwatch for Android users, and with it comes a number of improvements, but most notable is the return of the rotating bezel. The watch works smoothly while you go through the various screens, and does well at tracking your physical activities. It would also be an effective watch to track sleep, had the leather strap not been so stiff that it makes wearing the watch to bed rather uncomfortable. While the third party ecosystem for the Tizen powered smartwatch has definitely grown, it is still rather limited in comparison to that of WatchOS or even Android Wear. However, the watch leaves very little room for complaints and while it works best with a Samsung smartphone, users of other Android smartphones can also make the most of what the Galaxy Watch3 has to offer.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 detailed review

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has been the go-to premium option for Android users, even though the Galaxy Watch doesn’t use Android. The new Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is a product that’s been refined over the years, and now brings a much-polished experience to not just Samsung smartphone users, but Android users in general. We tested out the Galaxy Watch3 for some time, and here’s our takeaway.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Specifications and Features

When it comes to features, Samsung really throws even the kitchen sink into the Watch. The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 continues to offer Samsung’s unique rotating bezel as a means of navigating the user interface of the watch. Besides the usual all-day heart rate tracking and on-board GPS, the Watch3 also offers the ability to track your VO2 max. The AMOLED display with its 360x360 resolution is also adequately bright for day-time, outdoor use. When it comes to tracking, you obviously get the usual stuff like tracking heart rate and sleep, but you also get 40 kinds of workouts, seven of which the watch detects automatically. Once you’ve got the watch paired with your smartphone, you can also take calls or respond to messages using the watch itself. This is true for both the Bluetooth and the 4G versions, with the latter offering a truly untethered experience.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Heart Rate Tracking

The Galaxy Watch3 offers all day tracking and comparing data collected by the watch with the data collected by the Garmin Instinct, our reference device, we see some very interesting results. The two watches are mostly spot-on with their all-day HR readings, with variance coming in while sleeping.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 features all day HR tracking and stress tracking

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Activity Tracking

Testing the Samsung Galaxy Watch3’s activity tracking prowess included a few bike rides and long walks. None of the long walks were sadly on a beach. Once again, the Garmin Instinct paired with Garmin’s Speed and Cadence sensors were used for collecting reference data against which the Galaxy Watch3’s performance was compared. The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 was surprisingly accurate over the course of several 10km bike rides. The distance recorded by the Watch3 was only a few meters off, insignificant enough to not be considered at all. In terms of heart-rate tracking accuracy, things weren’t as good. On three separate occasions during the ride, the Watch3 couldn’t log heart-rate data. This impacted the average and maximum heart rate readouts. Every bike ride had heart rate data missing from a few minutes of every ride, which could be due to the position of the watch on the wrist while riding. This is not  an issue if you’re just riding casually, but if you intend to ride long and use the Watch3 for training purposes, you might find the lack of constant HR tracking problematic.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is really good at tracking your workouts, whether they're indoors or outdoors

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Sleep Tracking

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 with its leather strap, is not ideal to wear to bed. The strap is far too stiff and even after 10 days of constant use, it hasn’t softened up. It was really uncomfortable to sleep with, but that’s what we do for the sake of bringing you the right information. The sleep tracking on the Galaxy Watch3 is pretty good, and its also capable of identifying naps from proper sleep. The Watch3 not only records sleep, but also can identify the stage of sleep you’re in. Having sleep stage data is essential to assessing and formulating a healthier lifestyle. For example, you may have slept 8 hours, but if you didn’t spend enough time in deep sleep (REM sleep), you wake up feeling tired. The data, not a diagnosis of any condition, can be very helpful in an actual diagnosis.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is great at tracking your sleep, but the leather strap makes it very uncomfortable

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Smart Features

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is a smartwatch at its core, so it is important to discuss what it can and cannot do. Our watch is the Bluetooth version so as long as its paired to a phone, you can take calls on the watch itself. This is especially helpful if your hands are occupied. The speaker volume isn’t loud enough to be used in loud spaces, but it gets the job done if you’re at home or at work in a relatively quitter place. The microphone on the watch is pretty sensitive as well and doesn’t require you to put the watch next to your mouth in order for you to be audible to the person on the other side. You can respond to messages as well, including both text and WhatsApp thanks to a large number of pre-defined text messages. Given that the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 runs off Tizen, the watch is lacking somewhat in terms of third-party app support. This is just something you’re going to have to make peace with. All the health data collected by the watch is available in Samsung Health, and represented in a rather neat and clean manner.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 comes with the ability to track 40 types of workouts

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy Wtch3 comes with a 340mAh battery, with a claimed lifespan of 2 days on a single charge. In our usage, the watch just about managed to reach the 48-hour mark, but with less than 5 percent remaining. Honestly, once you cross the 15 percent battery mark, you’re flirting with a very strong possibility of a dead watch in the next few hours. Consider a top up around the 36-hour mark in case you’re planning on having a late night out.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 retains its premium standing in the smartwatch segment. It is really nice to have the rotating bezels back on the Watch, given that it was one of the most novel, yet effective features of the smart watch. The fitness tracking features on the watch work exceptionally well, and with the ability to record your VO2 Max, you can track your progress over a period of time. The leather strap is stiff and rather uncomfortable to wear to sleep. Swapping the strap out for something softer would make the watch more tolerable while sleeping. The Samsun Galaxy Watch3 is priced as a premium smartwatch, and as such, meets those expectations as well. It’s a great looking watch that becomes an extension of your smartphone, and also tracks fitness metrics well. The downside continues to be Samsung’s use of Tizen, which means very little third-party apps.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Price:
Release Date: 12 Aug 2020
Variant: None
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Type Type
    Super AMOLED
  • Power (Battery,mAh) Power (Battery,mAh)
    340 mAh
  • Compatible OS Compatible OS
    Tizen
  • Water Resistant Water Resistant
    NA

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Swapnil Mathur
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About Me: Swapnil was Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor. Swapnil has moved-on to newer challenges. For any communication related to his stories, please mail us using the email id given here. Read More

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

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